Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to announce his new cabinet today, not long after an election victory that saw his Progressive Conservatives returned to power with a large majority.
The Tories won 83 out of the legislature’s 124 seats in the election earlier this month, providing Ford with dozens of potential cabinet picks.
His previous cabinet had 28 people, but there is some speculation he will name an even larger executive council.
Observers have suggested that Ford will look to increase regional representation, such as from Windsor and Hamilton, where the Progressive Conservatives won seats that New Democrats had long held.
One of the most significant holes to fill is the health portfolio since Christine Elliott, who served as health minister for the past four years, did not run again.
Sources indicated to CityNews that Ford is leaning towards longtime MPP and former Solicitor General Sylvia Jones as his next health minister.
Multiple sources also informed CityNews that newly elected MPP Michael Ford, the Premier’s nephew, is likely to be given a cabinet post along with another first-time MPP, George Pirie.
Sources also say Stephen Lecce will return as Minister of Education, while Peter Bethlenfalvy will remain Minister of Finance. Lisa MacLeod, however, is not expected to return to the cabinet.
The primary education unions have already filed notices kickstarting the next round of contract negotiations.
Ontario Autism Coalition to rally outside Queen’s Park
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Autism Coalition says a rally will be held outside Queen’s Park at 10 a.m. to “remind Ford and his new cabinet that our community cannot wait any longer.”
The autism file has been one of the most contentious during Ford’s reign as Premier of Ontario.
During his election campaign, Ford promised a new focus on helping adults with autism as the province carries what many considered expired and futile services meant for children.
The coalition says the autism community cannot wait any longer.
“After four years and three ministers, Doug Ford still hasn’t gotten it done when it comes to services for children and youth with autism,” said former Ontario Autism Coalition President Bruce McIntosh.
“While this government continues to dither, 54,000 children are stuck waiting for help. Ford promised to ‘clear the waitlist’ the first time he was elected, but he has more than doubled its size.”